Workout Routine Myth Busting
Nope, You Don’t Need to Go to the Gym
Guest post from Gillian Goerzen, BSc (kin), BCRPA PT, GF, YFL
When people come to me ready to make a change with their health and fitness, very often one of the first things they say to me is that they “need to go to the gym” or they “need to exercise regularly.”
My first question back to them is often this:
This is when they will get a dazed look of confusion that seems to say “aren’t you a fitness professional? Isn’t that what you want me to say?”
To which I most often respond with this:
I know that might surprise you, but formal exercise isn’t the “answer” for a lot of people. Tell me more about what it means to be healthy and fit – to YOU!
This leads us to some really cool conversation about how they define health and fitness as an individual. It usually involves me shattering a lot of the myths that (sadly) the fitness industry has perpetuated to serve it’s business – primarily this:
MYTH: In order to be healthy and fit you need to participate in formal exercise / go to the gym / fitness class / lift weights.
This is unequivocally NOT true.
Yup. You read that correctly.
You don’t need to go to the gym, attend a class, lift weights or even do traditional formal exercise to be healthy.
You also don’t necessarily need to do those things to be fit.
Because FIT (just like health) is as unique as you are. Let’s dive deeper into this and answer this very important question…
What is “fitness” then?
Here’s how I define it: Fitness is the capacity for your body to perform the activities you desire with ease and enjoyment.
Once we know your unique desires, then we can start to look at the tactics and strategies you need to get there. Because how you define fitness will dramatically alter the tactics and strategies you use to achieve said fitness.
Let me clarify with a few examples:
- If you said you want to be able to run 5k with ease and enjoyment – awesome. I’m not going to send you to 3 Zumba classes per week. I’m going to get you to progress through a walk to run program designed to help you run 5k.
- If you said you want to be able to get up and down off the ground to play with your grandkids with ease and enjoyment – also awesome. I’m not going to have you hit the stairs or go to aquasize (though those are also awesome ways to exercise). I’m going to give you specific exercises to help you increase the strength and flexibility you need to get up and down off the ground.
- If you said you want to be able to bike through the countryside in Italy with ease and enjoyment – ohhhh awesome. I’m not going to have you prepare by taking a Ashtanga Yoga class and hiking 2x per week. I’m going to suggest you get on the bike – through spinning classes and by joining a social ride on the weekends.
BOTTOM LINE: Fitness is specific. And so the tactics and strategies we use to achieve it also need to be specific (and actually work for your #reallife)
Why am I ranting on about this?
Because all too often we (both the industry and people just like you) jump to the TACTICS of fitness without really addressing the specific objective first. And this leads to lack-luster interest (aka joy) and a failure to develop the fitness we actually need and want!
So, what can you do?
If you’re thinking about moving more….
Ask yourself: what is my intention?
If your intention is health:
- Find ways to move your body for 150-minutes per week.
- Explore activities that you enjoy that work with your current life structure (aka #reallife)
- Remember that every move counts! Every single 10-minute burst of activity that increases your heart rate and breathing rate all adds up to good health!
If your intention is fitness, ask this follow up question: What do you want to be fit for?
- Choose activities that support that fitness goal.
- Make those activities your top priority.
- Remember that additional activities can also be included, but should be seen as “support” for the primary goal.
- For example – if you are a runner, you might also include strength training or yoga, but the majority of your exercise would be focused on running, with the strength and yoga being seen as secondary and in support. Ie. your strength workouts shouldn’t take up more time/ make you so sore you can’t do your runs!
If this is making your head spin – don’t fret! I know it’s a lot of info. Just let it percolate. And remember in the end – when it comes to health, all movement is good movement!
Listen to your body, follow your instincts and have FUN!
And…if you have questions, just ask!
Gillian is a Body Positive Health and Fitness Coach with a passion for helping women create a healthy lifestyle they love free from guilt and shame. Grounded in the HAES® (Health at Every Size) philosophy Gillian helps clients rediscover their JOY for movement and genuine enthusiasm for building health habits that stick – for good! You can learn more about Gillian and her online Body Positive Fitness Studio and Community at www.superyoustudio.com
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My fear is that people will just see the ‘no need to do exercise”and just proceed to be couch potatoes!!
Thanks for your note – hopefully anyone that reads the post (including couch potatoes!) is inspired to find the type of activity that will fit their personal interest.